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Health and Human Services programs earn national achievement awards

May 15, 2018

Nine Placer County programs have been recognized with an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties this year. The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that enhance services for residents.

“It’s very gratifying to see our work recognized at the national level,” said Health and Human Services Director Jeff Brown, whose department received the nine awards. “Our staff and partners have been dedicated to finding creative solutions to meet the evolving needs of our community.”

The Public Health division received awards for a lactation counseling program for at-risk  mothers and for the Whole Person Care program, targeting homeless individuals who are high users of emergency rooms and other systems. That program has helped place more than 40 people in permanent housing over the past year.

Two awards went to the Human Services division: one for the “Get Hired” workshop series, a set of free classes available to job seekers that resulted from a collaboration with Placer School for Adults. The second award went to Human Services’ annual recognition ceremony that honors CalWORKs clients who have successfully found jobs along with local employers who have helped them on their journeys.

The Children’s System of Care also received two awards. One recognized the county’s efforts to implement Safety Organized Practice, an approach to child welfare that seeks to strengthen supports around a child and family to keep more children in their homes. The other honored the county’s partnership with Koinonia Family Services to develop a community-based emergency foster care model following the closure of the emergency children’s shelter per state law.

Meanwhile, the Adult System of Care was recognized for creating walk-in mental health screening clinics, which have improved access to care for mental health patients. The program has significantly reduced the length of time it takes to receive an intake appointment and to see a psychiatrist or nurse practitioner.

Environmental Health received an award for creating a drinking water workshop that brought together water system operators and regulators from across the state for training and collaboration. Finally, Animal Services staff were recognized for their partnership with Gold Country Wildlife, a nonprofit organization that brought new life to the county’s old, outdated animal shelter facility after its new animal services center opened in 2016.

Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Awards program is designed to recognize county government innovations. Nationally, awards are given in 18 different categories. A full database of this year’s award recipients can be found here.

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